The fact that I plan a menu is apparently impressive to some people. I think it may be because Menu is such a fancy word. The fact of the matter is that I am simply too scattered to shop and cook without one.
Here's the secret to my "impressiveness" so you too can awe friends and strangers by mentioning your menu plan:
Side note: I usually only plan for weekday dinners and
add lunch on weekends. Micah and I are not big breakfast eaters
he has coffee, I eat oatmeal or cereal or left over brownies -
whatever I feel like. Weekday lunches I eat leftovers (or apple crisp)
and Micah has the same packed lunch every day (because I get up before
the sun to make it and i don't think clearly for the first 45 minutes
that I'm awake):
something salty, something sweet,
a fruit, some veggies and a treat.
(it rhymes or else I'd forget things)
I write the days of the week down the side of an index card. (If I feel fancy, I sometimes add the date too!) and mark any days we'll be out of town or have guests. i.e. - Monday through Friday next week we are adding 2 pre-schoolers to our house (noted by the vertical line) necessitating the planning of breakfasts and lunches in addition to dinner.
Then I look at last week's card and transfer the dinners that we didn't eat because I was lazy and improvised, or we ate out while we were running errands or having date night. I should already have everything I need to make these meals and they go early in the week so that any fresh ingredients don't rot.
Next I fill in the blank spaces.
Micah will cook Sunday Lunch if I provide a recipe and ingredients, so I pick something he can do for Sunday. I choose meals from recipes I found and want to try, old standards or recipes that use stuff that was on too good a sale to pass up last week and/or needs used up from my freezer or pantry. LO stands for left-overs.
Ta Da! 15 (or less) minutes later - This week's Menu Plan.
Another few minutes and I make the grocery list which is as simple as writing down what staples I need (milk bread butter spices stuff for packed lunches) and what I'll need for each recipe listed. Usually I just list it on this same card down the right hand side so that when I'm in the store I have my list of what I'll be making right in front of me. This week since I planned breakfasts and lunches the grocery list is on the back of this card.
I hang it on the fridge and cross off the meals as we eat them. If I do not feel like baking potatoes on Monday, it's OK we'll have corn chowder or pizza and when we get to Wednesday, I'll make the potatoes or improvise. "Do you have a plan? Ever think about Changin' it?"
P.S. I have edited this since taking the picture. We will have ravioli (it coming with the pre-schoolers) instead of baked potatoes on Tuesday and maybe mac & cheese instead of Pizza or if we end up being home Friday night. I may make the potatoes tonight instead of leftovers. See how simple and flexible it is.